Research Proposal / Format

By Sultan Muhammad Khan

The research proposal is a blue print of the proposed project.
The research proposal is a plan of action and a strategy to be carried out according to the objectives of the study
Definition:  A research plan is a detailed description of a proposed study to investigate a given problem.
  • It includes the justification for the hypothesis to be tested.
  • It shows the detailed presentation of the research steps to be followed in collecting & analyzing the required data & projected time & schedule for each major step.
  • It must be completed before a study is begun
  • A well-thought-out plan saves time, reduces the probability of costly mistakes & generally results in high quality research
The preparation of a research proposal is an important step. All research institutions require that a proposal must be submitted for approval before work is started on the project
Functions of the Research Proposal
1. It provides guidelines to the researcher for adopting the systematic approach towards the solution of the problems.
2. It provides basis for the evaluation of the proposal by researcher’ and aware the researcher of the problems and difficulties that he/she will have to face in his study
3. It restores confidence in researcher about the feasibility and worth of his investigations.
4.            It motivates the researcher and                moves him to  complete his project and reach his Goal
5.            It also enables the adviser to assess the progress of work of his advisee at regular intervals   

What is not a good proposal
  1. problem is too broad and complex
  2. If the problem is too subjective and is based on personal opinion
c.    If the problem is of highly controversial
d.    If the problem is too familiar and does not lead to some unknown domain of knowledge
Major elements of the proposal
1.1  Introduction
1.2  background and justification
1.3  Objectives of the study
1.4  Significance of the study
1.5  Research Questions
1.6  Hypothesis
2.1  Research Design
2.2  the nature of the study
2.3  Population
2.4  Sample
2.5  Methods and Tools of Data Collection
2.6  Limitation
2.7  Delimitation  
2.8 Ethical Considerations
2.9 Research Timeframe
Ø  Problem of the Study:
                Feasible to be carried out
                Opens doors for future investigation
1.1  Introduction
The main purpose of the introduction is to provide the necessary background or context for your research problem. State the research problem, which is often referred to as the purpose of the study.
1.2  Background and justification
Present the rationale of your proposed study and clearly indicate why it is worth doing with the help of Review of the related literature
A. Reported problem or closely related problems
b.  Research designs of various nature
C. Designs of studies used, including procedures,   instruments etc.
1.3  Objectives of the study
Ø  Realistic
Ø  Add new knowledge
Ø  Related to the topic
1.4  Significance of the study
The importance and outcomes of the study.
1.5  Research Questions
Drawn from the objectives of the study or the topic of the study
1.6  Hypothesis
                a.  Selecting key question(s)
                b. They are reasonable
                c. They are consistent with objectives
                D. They are verifiable
                E. They are testable
Research Procedure/design
This part of the proposal outlines the entire research plan to be carried out. It mainly describes
What must be done?
b. How it will be done?
c. What data will be needed?
d. What data collecting device will be used?
e. How sources of data will be located?
f.  How data will be organized?
g. How data will be analyzed and conclusions drawn?
2.1  Research Design
                What research design you want to use for your                 research.
2.2  The nature of the Study
The nature of the study section is typically the one in which the research design is laid out and discussed. Researcher describe the basic methodology that he /she used (the subjects, how data collected and describe the procedures used for collection of the data
2.3  Population
A research population is generally a large collection of individuals or objects that is the main focus of a scientific query.
2.5  Samples
A sample is a finite part of a statistical population whose properties are studied to gain information about the whole(Webster, 1985).
2.6  Methods and Tools of Data Collection
Method and tools for data collection ( interview, questionnaire)
2.7 Limitations
Limitations are influences that the researcher cannot control.  They are the shortcomings or conditions  that cannot be controlled by the researcher
 2.8 Delimitations
Delimitations are choices made by the researcher which should be mentioned. They describe the boundaries that the researcher set for the study.
2.9  Ethical Considerations
Follow the ethical code of conduct of the research and Keep in view the rights of the participants and protect their data.

Research Timeframe/Time Schedule
Listing of major activities or phases of the proposed study
Expected completion time for each activity or phase
Develop Research Proposal and obtain approval              60 Days
Develop and Improve instrument                                            10 Days
Download Researches                                                                   10 days
Administer instrument and Data collection                         70 days
Data analysis                                                                                      30 days
Research Report writing                                                                              60 days


APA style
Format of Research Proposal
Title Page (Topic of the study)
1.1          Introduction
1.2          Background and Justification
1.3          Objectives of the Study
1.4          Significance of the Study
1.5          Research Questions
2.1          Research Design
                The nature of the Study
                Methods and Tools of Data collection
Ethical Considerations
Research Methods/Timeframe


The need for complete documentation generally needs the inclusion of appropriate appendixes in proposals
Appendixes may include
         Original scales or questionnaires
         If an instrument is copyrighted, permission in   writing to reproduce the instrument from the     copyright holder
         Proof of purchase of the instrument
         Interview protocols.
         Sample of informed consent forms.
         Cover letters sent to appropriate stakeholders.
         Official letters of permission to conduct research.
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